Clearcut

For years at a hunching, she’d crank over the oaken stubs while the woodcutters stood by. She had begotten them all and postured them perfectly. They held their distance like wolves in various live-action roles: one knee bent in moss, ax aloft, swooping down to pine or seesawing a slice of maple with double crosscut near another jack topping a redwood off in a tumble. “You best take a break,” her friends insisted after each. But she continued, choking the wee house with thousands posed on shelf, vanity, mantel, and sill. It wasn’t until the woodcutters circled in and forced her fingers into cuts that she knew enough to straighten up.

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